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A wise man once said to me that as I age, if I wanted to achieve a fair amount of clarity, peace and serenity, I should constantly try to simplify my life.

This has been no easy challenge. Throughout my life I have ďclutteredĒ up my brain with a reservoir of information and images. Iíve also trained myself to be the consummate multi-tasker. Iíve often felt guilty if I wasnít doing several things at one time. But, Iíve paid a price. This hyper-activity can feel productive, but it can also lead to stress and burn outÖÖ..and missing out on the things that are most important in life.

At this post-midlife crisis stage it is not unusual for many to constantly re-question their priorities. For me, it has been helpful to keep in mind that long overused acronym, Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS).

When I stop over analyzing, when I start limiting complexities, when I eliminate redundancies, and when I start disavowing the past absolutes of others, I start to get a clearer idea what is best for me, what will ultimately bring me the most happiness. I have found that simplicity is a great antidote for finding happiness at this point in my life.

Take the simple concern about making ends meet each month. Today, that challenge seems to be on everyoneís lips. Get caught up in political propaganda as to who to blame and you can easily lose track of the simplicity of what needs to be done. There are those who are just waiting for a hand out. There are those who think that they are entitled to the life they once lived. There are those who want to believe that others know better how to help them. Sorry folks, you donít have to work that hard at this. If you are looking anywhere else but within, you are doing yourself a great disservice.

This country was founded on individual spirit, ingenuity, personal sacrifice, and hard work. Why would anyone start believing that anything less than these early guiding principles, attributes that made this country great and the envy of the world, would be appropriate today? We have many strengths as Americans, but unfortunately, over the years our earliest of beliefs have slowly been relinquished by many who do not want to be responsible for their own actions, who donít believe their station in life is primarily dictated by their own decisions. There will always be someone out there who will tell you otherwise. But, if you keep it simple, stupid, you will understand that your individual freedom (taken so lightly by many) empowers you to accomplish almost anything. Give that power away to others, and you weaken your core, perhaps beyond repair.

For those of us who are trudging through this economic decline, there are many questions and few concrete answers. It can be very confusing. But, when I simply look at my own personal and business finances I know without a shadow of doubt that if I spend more than I bring in, I will be in big trouble. This does sounds pretty simple and obvious doesnít it? But, Iím amazed at how many people keep ignoring simple facts and keep doing what didnít work in the past and keep believing in concepts and people who wonít work for them in the future. They put off making the tough, obvious, dare I say, simple (but often hard) decisions because they believe (at least they want to believe) that prosperity is right around the corner. And, they are prone to support and hail anyone who foretells good fortune for them in the near future.

Maybe something miraculous will happen soon, but I doubt it. I donít have a knee jerk loyalty to any one party or candidate. I just listen, read, and verify, the best that I can, what is going on. And, right now I do not feel that I can put my faith in anyone but me. I certainly donít have all the answers, but I do know how to cut expenses, defer gratification, change some habits, and alter my thinking. While I am working on creative ideas that, hopefully, will increase revenue, it has been imperative for me to prune superfluous costs and expenses. Actually, this was easier than I first thought. It is truly amazing what an individual can accomplish if he focuses on the simple things right in front of him and doesnít get led astray or confused by others.

I challenge all of you to slow down and be more introspective about what you really want and need. At this stage of life it is even more important that we try our best to understand ourselves and how we wish to relate to others: our friends, family, business associates, countrymen and government. Read more, be open minded, and check alternative and opposite points of view. Be more informed (has anyone actually read the Health Care Act?) and give your loyalty carefully. Keep it simple. If someone says that raising taxes is a good idea, ask them why? Look for specific, uncomplicated answers to your questions. Donít get caught up in the morass of information and hyperbole out there. Double check everything that is important to you. Try and see the logic in all policies whether yours or your governmentís. Consider the unintended consequences of various actions and policies. Walk it through and try and see where we (you) might be in five or 10 years. Donít let your friends or relatives unduly influence you. It is your life, and you are responsible for it. It is all right to get opinions, but you need to make the decisions that you can support.

I know that there is much confusion out there. No one really knows how things will work out. That is even more reason why we need to keep things simple. When we do, we invariably feel more in control and more positiveÖ..and good things usually follow.

|  Posted on: 2012-07-28 17:56:50  |  0 Comments  

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